Then the experts participating in the survey were asked to determine external factors making a major impact on health and depending on the actual individual’s choice. Positive replies here split as follows:
- overall lifestyle of the individual – 96%; diet – 100%;
- family wellbeing – 66%;
- lack of a careful attitude towards one’s health – 63%;
- level of enlightenment in the matters of health – 66% (and an overall low level of education – 46%);
- selected treatment method – 80%; self-treatment, availability of medications, late visit to a doctor – 60%; people being focused on the technological methods in medicine in prejudice of the healthy lifestyle – 66%;
- family traditions – 53%; religious beliefs – 26%.
In addition, one more group can be separated from among the external factors affecting the human health – namely, problems of planetary importance and social factors over which an individual has no possible control:
- bad ecological conditions – these were marked as the most important factor by 83%;
- social insecurity, poverty, destitution – 73%;
- social health – 63%
- quality of medical aid – 53%.
Special focus should be made on the matter of social health as a factor of health of an individual. The system vision implies considering a human as a part of the overall humanity. Therefore, an individual’s health is linked with health of the overall mankind. This manifests itself both at the physical body’s level and is associated with the species retention and in the field of spiritual health.
In the philosophical works by the 19th c. homeopaths (K. Hering, C. Hempel, J.T. Kent) contain numerous arguments that the ultimate objective of homeopathy is to restore the human race in a harmony with nature and spirit . Contemplating about deep aspects of the genesis of illnesses within the scope of Hahnemann’s theory of chronic diseases, J.T. Kent says that it was the spiritual illnesses of the humankind which had resulted in the expulsion from the archetypical paradise (Eden) that was the basis of susceptibility to physical ailments. Originally, people – same as all living organisms on Earth – were both physically and spiritually healthy. Accordingly, restoration of spiritual health of an individual human and the entire humankind is a key to physical health .
Specifically what should one do to maintain one’s health? To obtain the broadest picture, this question was presented to the respondents in the open-end form. The aggregate reply was recommendations covering all levels of the human organism – physical, mental and spiritual ones. Homeopathic physicians believe that the following actions shall be necessarily taken to maintain health (original wording is kept in the transcription of replies):
- care of a reasonable lifestyle: healthy diet, physical activity, sufficient recreation, sleep, healthy sexual relationship, taking into account environmental factors (avoiding chemicals and toxic load, living outside the city limits), avoiding emotional stresses, do the labor of love, observe moral laws (live in love, be able to forgive);
- access to the proper medical service in the case of acute and chronic illnesses that supports the immune function and healthy adaptation and minimizes susceptibility and limitations. In other wordings, the matter of medical support was solved in a decisive manner, “treat oneself with homeopathy” was named a prerequisite for health maintenance by 17% of respondents;
- reflexive and true interaction with oneself, specifically freedom from delusions, not living up to others’ expectations, avoiding internal conflicts (living in harmony with oneself), being happy, be receptive to one’s inner voice, positive thinking, controlling the mind, “trusting one’s heart more than one’s conscious”, target setting, living consciously rather than “on automatic pilot”, and awareness of oneself as a valuable and important person.
An interesting thing is that, out of all survey participant, only one person (a US homeopath) made a special point that recommendations for health maintenance should be formulated in the context of a specific person and his/her circumstances: “when I worked as a volunteer in Haiti, good health meant finding enough food to eat that day, which is very different from the objectives of a common person in San Francisco who selects well-balanced organic food for his/her health maintenance”. This is true a holistic worldview – fully comprehending the link between an individual and the environment.
Overall, despite the fact that the homeopaths’ notion of factors that are requisite to maintain human health is massive, it is obvious that these are primarily general recommendations that do not differ dramatically from recommendations and notions of other medical systems.
Nevertheless, the homeopaths can use practically their specific knowledge about a human, such as the knowledge about general human symptoms, and individualize the health maintenance recommendations. As in homeopathy, the general symptoms characterize one’s ability to adapt to the environment – to the temperature, to the seasonal changes in the nature, to the food and to specific climate – this data may prove important for developing recommendations regarding lifestyle the homeopath makes for the patient. Yet, in practice, a patient seldom receives such recommendations from a homeopath. Nowadays, it depends on the homeopath’s personal experience and beliefs, whereas it could become a part of the common practice.
A homeopath is given even greater possibilities by the knowledge about the so-called miasmatic predisposition of the patient, especially in the light of new modern sciences, such as epigenetics. The idea of preventive medicine based on the person’s individual genome whose aim is to prevent possible diseases with a consideration to his/her genetic predisposition or to find them at early stages is presently becoming increasingly more widespread. Homeopathy may fill its specific niche here using the knowledge about the patient’s miasmatic predisposition both for treatment and for preventing of possible illnesses.
Homeopaths have peculiar tools at their disposal, enabling them to teach the patients conscious health protection that takes into account their susceptibility and predisposition. Yet, such approach requires expanding the borders of homeopathy and integrating of knowledge from biomedicine and physiology, as well as that from other holistic medical practices, such as nutritiology, psychosomatics, acupuncture, osteopathy, and others, into the homeopathic concept of health.
Thus, the data of the performed expert survey allow us to say that homeopathic practitioners possess an integral worldview and a fully conscious concept of human health, where ideas of the philosophy of holism are reflected. At the same time, the survey reveals that homeopathic physicians suffer some difficulties in comprehending the concept of health at an individual level. It is especially clearly manifested in the open-end questions, where prevalence of common, widely used wordings, rather than reflection of specifics of the homeopathic method, is seen.
Perhaps, among other things, it has to do with the fact than not all health-related questions have been developed in homeopathy at the modern theoretical level. Philosophy of homeopathy is feasible to advance, including that within the scope of the theory of system and synergetics. Perhaps, in the due course of time, it will help creating an intellectual environment for the new understanding of the world. Then homeopathy which is actually the very symbiosis of rationalism and vitalism the philosophy of holism is based upon may fit nicely in such paradigm.
On the other hand, in order to become a part of the worldview, holism needs to be comprehended and digested in the physician’s mind, and it demands resources – time, effort and targeted education. Homeopaths must study modern philosophy, because philosophy of a subject is just as important as its purpose.
* Semiosis is a process, where something functions as a sign. The term semiosis seems to have been initially implemented by Greek doctor Galen (139-199 AD) who called interpretation of an illness symptoms a semiosis.
**Autopoiesis is a term introduced in the early 1970s by Chilean neurobiologists U. Maturana and F. Varela and meaning self-construction, self-reproduction, replication of living creatures, including humans, that are distinguished by their organization engendering themselves as a product without dividing into a producer and a product.
*** Emergence – complex systems having special properties that are not inherent in their individual elements or a sum of elements.
Literature and sources
- Ahmedzyanov, K.G. Man as a multi-level system in the perspective of psychosomatic medicine. Bulletin of the Tyumen State University. 2006 №2.
- Bakhtin, M.M. (1979) Aesthetics of verbal creativity, Moscow: Art.
- Vitulkas, J. (1997) A new model of health and disease, M .: “ARINA” Publishing Group.
- Vitulkas, J., Woonsel, E. van (2012) Health levels. Practical applications and cases, Moscow: Homeopathic Medicine.
- Hahnemann, S. (1992) Organon of medical art, M .: Atlas.
- Kent, J.T. (1997) Lectures on the Philosophy of Homeopathy, Moscow: Homeopathic Medicine.
- Majuga, AG, Sabekia, R.B. Ontology of health: holistic approach. Bulletin of Bashkir University. 2013. Vol. 18. №4
- Maslow, A. (1999) Motivation and Personality Petersburg: Peter.
- Матурана, У., Варела, Ф. Древо познания: Биологические корни человеческого понимания. М.: Прогресс-Традиция. 2001.
- Schepper, L.de (2011) Rereading Hahnemann. Textbook of classical homeopathy for professionals, Novosibirsk: Homeopathic book.
- Schepper, L. de Guide to Your Health, Novosibirsk: The Homeopathic Book. 2013.
- Jung, C.G. (1999) Personal and supra-personal, or collective unconscious, M .: PRIOR.
- Bhatia, M Lectures on Organon of Medicine – Vital Force in Health Understanding Aphorism Nine & Ten. (http://hoacuoidep.info/organon-philosophy/lectures-on-organon-of-medicine-vital-force-in-health-understanding-aphorism-nine-ten) (04.2008).
- Bonamin, V., Lagache, A. et al. Research on Ultra-dilutions and the Theory of Corporeal Signifiers: The Follow Up, Signals and Images: Contributions and Contradictions about High Dilution Research. Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008. p.3-28.
- Dubos, R. Mirage of Health, New York: Harper & Row. 1971.
- Sulmasy, D.P. The Rebirth of the Clinic: An Introduction to Spirituality in Health Care, Whashington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
- Ullman, D. The homeopathic revolution: Why famous people and culturalheroes choose homeopathy, Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.
- Weil, A.T. Health and Healing: The Philosophy of Integrative Medicine and Optimum Health. NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
- Whitmont, E.C. The Alchemy of Healing: Psyche and Soma, Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.